Business Irish

Sunday 15 December 2019

INM shares jump 15pc as large stake bought

Thomas Molloy

SHARES in Independent News & Media jumped 15pc yesterday amid speculation that Denis O'Brien had increased his stake in the company.

Shares in INM closed at 31.7 cents last night, the highest level in more than eight months, after 29.3 million shares changed hands. The buyer was not identified, but both Reuters and Bloomberg reported yesterday that Mr O'Brien bought the stake. The news agencies cited unidentified sources.

The identity of the owner of the shares must be revealed today or on Monday, but there was no official statement to the stock exchange last night clarifying who had acquired the stake. A spokesman for Mr O'Brien did not reply to questions about the transaction.

If the reports are correct, the billionaire now owns about 27pc of INM, the publisher this newspaper.

That is still below the 29.9pc level which would trigger a mandatory bid for the entire company. Shares in INM have risen 55pc so far this year. Yesterday's large trade was made at 34.5 cents per share, a 24pc premium to the 27.8 cents level at which shares were trading.

A total of 29.3m shares changed hands at 11.01am yesterday morning. The investment company Investec is believed to have sold the stake.

Irish Independent

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